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Edmond man's Boy Scout uniform collection spans a century

Dr. Hal Yocum, an Edmond, Oklahoma, resident, has a collection of Boy Scout uniforms that spans about 100 years.
by Bryan Painter Modified: March 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm •  Published: March 18, 2013

That way, young Scouts can look in the book and see what it took to achieve Eagle in a particular time period.

“As part of First Aid in the early days of Scouting,” Yocum said, “you had to learn how to stop a runaway carriage.”

In addition to the uniforms, Yocum will attend events to portray the founder of the Scout movement, Lord Baden-Powell.

Reading the uniform

Opposite the wall the Paul Harvey photo hangs on is a Scout uniform in a glass case. In the 1960s, Yocum started collecting Scout uniforms “mainly to preserve the history” of Scouting. He'd find them at garage sales or flea markets. But to locate the truly old ones, Yocum would either meet with other collectors at gatherings or write them.

That's how he came to have Harold Doerr's uniform, Scout knife, watch compass and the newspaper photo and story about how Doerr in 1921 became the first boy from Passaic, N.J., to achieve Eagle.

The rest of the story is how Yocum reads not the article but the uniform.

“Those little strings around the sleeve are tenure strings,” he said. “The red one stood for three years apiece and the green one was one year, so because he's got two red and one green, it indicates he had seven years' service. Today we have little pins that tell how many years you have been in Scouts.”

On the third row of merit badges is one that caught Yocum's attention. It's a symbol of two people shaking hands.

“That's called interpreting. It had to do with language skills” he said. “New Scouts look at these uniforms and are amazed.

“The history disappears very quickly, almost with every generation. I didn't want to see that happen.”

Ryan Lemons, program director for the Boy Scouts of America Last Frontier Council said, “Hal's objective in Scouting is to help the program.”

“He uses his uniform project as a tool to inspire young people and adult leaders,” Lemons said, “to continue in Scouting and to get excited about Scouting today.

“Hal is a very forward-thinking guy.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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